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Fine and Mellow

by s.a.

Date: Saturday, January 11, 2003 8:21 PM

     Title: Fine and Mellow 
     Author: s.a.
     Rating: G. 
     Pairing: Fraser/Kowalski. 
     Fandom: due South.
     Disclaimer: Other people's gardens. I just like to play in them.
     Spoilers: Nothing specific. It's the whole "know they exist" thing.
     Feedback: It's the best kind of crack. email: sa@bluezfire.org
     Distribution: Hole in the Ground,
     http://fubos.bluezfire.org/hole; List archives. Just ask.
     Author's Notes: I love it when these guys get into my brain.
     This bunny came right after I finished "Subtlety," the RayK
     vices fic, when I thought about some other things that
     characterize him. Dancing came to mind, which brought to
     mind him dancing, and then dancing with Fraser. It's a
     device used in many stories, but never fleshed out enough
     for me. So here's a try. Thanks to Nestra for a lovely beta.
     Summary: But if you'll only grant me the right/To hold you
     ever so tight/And to feel in the night the nearness of you.

Ray loves to dance. Fraser knows this, but can never bring himself to move from his spot in the chair when Ray begins to shuffle across the cleared floor, humming in time with the music. Soon his slow amblings turn into full steps, and he's flowing around the room with an imaginary partner, Fraser's eyes fastened to him.

More than once Ray's tried to pull him from his seat, and he'd refuse and refuse until he finally gave in; but as soon as his body collided with Ray's, their movements became foreplay and feet were stalled to draw attention to roving hands.

Ben knows Ray doesn't understand; it's some combination of skittishness and sheer admiration of Ray's talent that keeps Fraser's feet in place.

But tonight Ben senses that Ray won't take no for an answer. Some small change in the atmosphere of the room, or the determined glint in Ray's eyes, makes Ben uncertain in a way he is truly unprepared for.

Lithe fingers grasp his hands, pull him from his resting place into a stand. He goes into the parade rest unthinkingly, only made aware of it by Ray's low chuckle. He grins a little, tries to relax, but from the look on Ray's face he is not particularly successful. He patiently lets Ray move his body, force him into relaxation, a parody of the own fluid grace Ray possesses. Finally Ray seems satisfied, and steps back to view the results. He shakes his head, grins, and then moves forward to thread his arms around Fraser, pulling him into an enveloping hug.

They stand like that, Ray supporting Fraser, Ray's fingers running through his hair, murmuring to him to relax, to let go, Ray'll be there, Ray'll catch him, until he feels Ben's arm twitch once, twice, and Ben's suddenly a pile of Jell-O in Ray's arms. Ray grins into Ben's hair and steps back, to Ben's protests. But Ray just takes Ben's arms and puts them into the proper position, casually grasping Ben's hand and moving his body to the appropriate stance and pose for what they are about to do.

Ray knows Ben is uncomfortable, and he figures it's kind of the same thing when he sees Fraser tie a knot in three seconds or speak fluent Cantonese or jump off a building. It's uncertainty, Ray thinks, and a fear of knowing what you can't do. Except with him and Fraser, the difference is they can. Whatever they need to do, they do it together and it gets done. So Ray gets that it can work with sticking to the edge of a plane as well as dancing.

He takes the first step back, and Ben follows with a kind of stomp. Ray tries to smother his smiles, but it's so hard when it comes to Fraser because he is so damn sexy in everything he does, even when he's struggling. Maybe especially when he's struggling, because then he seems closer to human than normal. Ray knows he's human--he's got the bedroom memories to prove it--but sometimes it's nice to know that Fraser's not good at, well, everything.

So he chucks Ben's chin up so that those startling eyes lock on to his, and Fraser nods once, an unspoken "understood." Ray's gonna lead them this time, and Ben just needs to hold on for the ride. It's a heady feeling, watching Fraser let go of that iron-strong control, watching Fraser trust him. 'Cause he knows, he knows Fraser loves him, trusts him, but there's that big Mountie shell in the form of a red serge that most people just bounce off of. But Ray's dug in for the long haul, attached and did not--has not--let go.

So he takes a step back, and has his own kind of relief when Ben follows him. Step, stepstep, step, stepstep. It's slow going, to Ella crooning "The Nearness of You" in the background. Ray leads Ben slowly, just swinging him along to the smooth beat. It gives him a chance to feel Fraser's body moving near him. Fraser's getting the hang of this, sort of. He's not bad. He's just better with a partner.

Ray tugs Ben closer, and their cheeks brush. He never figured he'd find stubble sexy, but then that's true of a lot of things when it comes to Benton Fraser. He scratches his jaw against Fraser's, and Ben answers with a soft nuzzle to his neck. Ray's chest rests against Ben's, and he moves a little quicker, spinning Ben around so that his hair lifts from his forehead and Ben's eyes get a little wider. A pleased smile spreads across his face, and his arm snakes a little tighter around Ray's shoulder.

They're moving fluidly now, as Ella takes them through the melody. It's easy, natural, and Ben's picking up the beat and the movement more effortlessly now. Ray can tell he's stopped counting the time of the song, stopped listening to the words, just letting the music get into his skin. Ray's tempted to kiss the corner of Ben's mouth, where it quirks up just so, but he knows if he changes this moment, their dancing will move into foreplay, and while that's cool, that's definitely on the plate for later, it's nice to have a partner again, to dance with someone again, to feel that easy intimacy and simple trust of movement. Ray doesn't really want to let that go right now, so he just holds Ben close and keeps dancing.

Ben's surprised at how uncomplicated it is, dancing. He's learned the basics. It was necessary, for formal functions, and he's always done what's necessary. But he's never danced for pleasure. He'd known, intellectually, that there was pleasure to be found in dancing, because obviously other people did. He just...never had.

It's like a different world, he muses. There's a sort of bubble that descends over two people as they dance, as if it's only them and the music. Which, he realizes, is the truth. It is only them and the music. So perhaps he is being ridiculous. But then Ray makes some quick move that catches his breath, and he can't help but smile.

As Ray nudges his chin over Ben's shoulder, he does the same, and their bodies are pressed tightly together. Ben knows that at this point he could change what they're doing, make it into something else; but he can tell that Ray is enjoying this, and truth be told he is as well. So he tilts his head into Ray's neck and inhales deep, loving the smell of Ray.

The track changes, and Ella moves into "Tenderly." Ray shifts around a bit, changing their gait and their movement until he's happy. Which is when Ben realizes he is. Happy.

It's something slightly hard to swallow, this sudden rush of emotion. Fraser's not used to it, still not used to it, after years of having his emotional state thrown this way and that by one Ray Vecchio cum Kowalski. He gasps a breath of air and buries his head in Ray's shoulder, holds him a little tighter, a little closer. This is the best thing in the world, Ben marvels, and he's got it right here, in his arms. His eyes get a bit wet, and he can't help but let the wide grin that's threatening break forth on his face.

Ray feels this shift in the room, and he pushes Ben back a little. Ben's eyes are glittering, just shining, and he looks like he just got a puppy for Christmas. Ray slides his hand from Ben's waist and runs his thumb over Ben's cheek, under his eye, and it's like Ben's broadcasting on a frequency only Ray can hear, and Ray can hear his own heartbeat and Ella behind him and Ben's shattered breathing in front of him and it's the most beautiful music he's ever heard, so all he can do is pull Fraser in close, tight, never letting him go, and just dance in this perfect rhythm they've got going, him and Ben.

The track slows to a stop, but Ben and Ray don't stop dancing.


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